Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats


poems of the North and the South during the fourth, fifth and
sixth centuries, when northern China was for the first time
submerged under a Tartar rule, and the cultured Chinese
migrated southward. For it was a time when sentimental love
lyrics flourished in the southern courts, and the southern rulers
were many of them great lyric poets, while a peculiar form of
love ditties, the tzityehko, developed among the people. A
contrast between this sentimental poetry and the fresh, naive
poetry of the North would be highly instructive. So sang the
anonymous poet of the South in the popular ditties:

Kill the ever-crowing cock!
Shoot the early announcer of the dawn!
That there might be an uninterrupted
Rolling darkness till Next Year's morn!

Or again:

The roads are muddy and forsaken,
Despite the cold I came to thee.
Go and look at the footprints in snow,
If thou wilt not believe me.

During the Southern Sung Dynasty, we saw a peculiar de-
velopment of a sentimental lyric in intricate metre, the tz'u,
which invariably sang of the sad lady in her boudoir, and her
tearful red candles at night and sweet-flavoured rouge and
eyebrow pencils, and silk curtains and beaded window screens
and painted rails and .departed springs^ and pining lovers
and emaciated sweethearts. It was natural that a people
given to this kind of sentimental poetry should be conquered
by a northern people who had but short, naive lines of poetry,
taken, as it were, direct and without embellishment from the
dreary northern landscape.

Down by the Chehleh river,
Beneath the Yin hills,
Like an inverted cup is the sky
That covers the wasteland.